You may have seen an influx of influencers lately and be thinking, “Wow, their life seems really cool.” So you want to be like them.
But then, you’ve also seen the bad rep they get on social media.
Here’s the thing. Influencers are often treated as freeloaders who expect free stuff all the time. But actual influencers do not behave that way.
Influencers are changing the game on how businesses promote their product and services, especially in this digital age. With their social following, influencers hold considerable power — or you know, influence — over consumer decisions. Their followers look up to them as experts. So whatever product or service they recommend, their followers will buy.
This is why brands are investing their marketing budget on influencers — influencers are essential avenues towards their target customers.
So if you aspire to be an influencer, we’re here to guide you in starting out.
Your 9-Step Plan to Becoming an Influencer
First, figure out what you’re passionate about, and stick to it. This sets a clear direction for you to determine what kind of content you want to make. With that, the people of the internet, with the same interest as you, will find you easier.
Some common niches tackled by famous influencers are makeup, video games, travel, and food. Take note that it can be anything – anything you can think of – as long as you are passionate enough to talk about it for a long time.
People have short attention spans, considering the amount of information they encounter on the internet. With such a saturated landscape, how do you draw attention to yourself and your content?
Do something unique from the others!
Find out what’s something you can offer that others don’t have, especially those in the same niche as you. In time, you’ll stand out in a world where everyone’s doing pretty much the same thing.
Take Robin Black, the owner of the popular blog Beauty is Boring. Combining her skills in makeup, photography, and creative direction, her blog features inventive makeup looks worn by models of diverse backgrounds. With her significant influence in the beauty industry, she has collaborated with international magazines like Vogue, Elle, Vanity Fair, Harper’s Bazaar, and L’Officiel.
Pick one key platform on which to showcase your content. Trying to create interesting content for several channels is difficult as a beginner. And you’ll only get overwhelmed.
To decide your key platform, consider your niche, where your target audience is at, and the format of content you’re comfortable with.
- Into food and travel? Instagram is a great channel to feature pictures.
- Fan of makeup and interested in doing reviews? Create videos on Youtube.
- Into video games? There’s Twitch to do live streaming.
- Want to give out career advice and tips? LinkedIn is where it’s at.
You should also re-purpose your content and share them on other platforms where you can promote your content to the rest of the internet sphere.
Having one focus (and two to three promotion channels) sets a balance between reaching a wide audience, and not being overwhelmed by content creation.
Consistency in look and voice makes your influencer brand recognisable. You want followers to recognise your pictures, videos, and writing within seconds.
So, decide on an aesthetic for your pictures and videos, and a tone of voice for your write-ups. And stick to it!
Establishing your branding will build your identity as an influencer, and will also help your audience distinguish you from the rest.
In the influencer business, your content is your product and service. So it needs to be planned out well.
Start by creating a social media strategy.
- Lay out a schedule of the content you want to create for the first three months.
- Decide on when and how frequently you are going to post, and stick to it.
- Most importantly, create good quality content — something that entertains, inspires, and moves your audience to action. Don’t settle for ordinary when putting yourself out there.
Jenna Marbles, one of the most popular Youtube personalities of this generation, became a big hit for showcasing her weird, funny antics on video. Her first video — How to Trick People into Thinking You’re Good-Looking — is already entertaining judging from the title itself. As if that isn’t enough, the video has already garnered 68 million views and comments like “This never gets old.” And it doesn’t.
Eight years after, her content still remains to be a consistent mix of absurdity and entertainment. Her recent video — I Want to Be a Toothbrush for Halloween — still features a catchy title and even catchier content.
The average smartphone camera can take pretty good pictures and videos. And this is enough when you’re starting out. There’s no need to spend loads of money at this point in time.
But, aspiring photography and action sports influencers should invest in a good camera, lighting equipment, and editing software.
For the rest, consider getting better quality equipment once you have a following (way beyond your mum, dad, and best friend) — 500 followers at least.
This will come in handy when brands reach out to you for sponsorships and collaborations in the future. You’d want to present their products and services in the best light possible.
Engaging with your audience is the best way to establish a relationship with them.
- Respond to every comment your posts get.
- Reply to every message you receive personally.
- Make your audience feel that they’re free to talk to you and you’re open to talking with them.
This will make them feel special and will make them come back to you for more content.
One way to build an audience is to collaborate with fellow influencers. These collaborations will certainly be published on their channels, which means you get featured to an established audience. This puts you on the map and helps the internet discover you.
Start small by reaching out to micro-influencers (influencers with 500 to 5,000 engaged followers). This is a give-and-take effort — it allows you and your partner micro-influencer to leverage your own audiences. You give them extra exposure to your channel, and they give you the same with theirs. It’s a win-win.
Then, when your audience has grown significantly, start introducing yourself to the more popular influencers. Propose a project that benefits them greatly — like a profile interview, as recommended by writer Tom Ward. You give them a chance to have more content about them, and they give you access to a wider community. Another win-win!
As a business person, you’d want to know as well how your business is doing and what steps are necessary for you to grow it.
Using analytics tools will help you assess what kind of content works for you and your audience. It also lets you get to know your audience better — what generation they belong to, what interests them, and the like.
Through this, you can create better content that speaks to your audience on an intimate level.
And you’re all set!
Follow these steps and you’ll be on your way to becoming an influencer.
But bear in mind, being an influencer takes time and effort. Like any job, making your mark in this industry does not happen in just a snap. Be consistent in creating good content and building relationships, and in due time, all that will bear fruit.